back to article 18-wheeler robot juggernaut hits Nevada's highways. Cower, fleshies!

American truck maker Freightliner has premiered its first robot big rig, and it has already received a road license plate for a computer-controlled 18-wheeler on public highways. The Freightliner Inspiration Truck operates on a system called Highway Pilot, an automated cruise control setting which is intended to allow the …

  1. Amorous Cowherder

    Simpsons surely have prior art?

    "Last time I saw Old Red he was in a body bag."

    "Yep, that sounds like Old Red!"

  2. Omgwtfbbqtime
    Terminator

    Forget Transformers

    Maximum Overdrive!

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Forget Transformers

      Or Killdozer

      1. Chozo

        Re: Forget Transformers

        Or Solarcrisis

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Forget Transformers

          Or Duel!

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duel_%281971_film%29

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Re: Forget Transformers

          That was a pretty damn good bad film!

    2. WraithCadmus
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Forget Transformers

      Maximum Overdrive!

      Oddly in the recent series Transformers Prime Optimus himself would say this when exhorting his troops to move as swiftly as possible, sly reference or just coincidence?

      Icon: Vortex, of the Combaticons

  3. Gordan

    FIT, I need ya, buddy.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    No good in the UK...

    ...I hear this things have "sensors" that stop them getting to close to the vehicle in front, thus making incompatible with current UK lorry driving standards.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: No good in the UK...

      Upvoted!

      Although on a more serious note, an obvious upgrade would be for an AV truck to be able to detect and communicate with other AV trucks and convoy with them at very close spacing.

      10-4 rubber duck! (icon for the bear in the air)

  5. Alan Brown Silver badge

    Won't work in England.

    "The camera-based technology apparently needs only clear traffic signs and crisp white stripes to function effectively"

    Half the traffic signs around here have moss/lichen growing on them and as for the white stripes....

    1. caffeine addict

      Re: Won't work in England.

      But think of the fun you could have with a tin of white gloss.

      "There was chaos today when unidentified miscreants rerouted the M25 into an endless loop"

      Oh, wait... nevermind...

      1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Won't work in England.

        http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/pensioner-drives-on-m25-for-two-days-281672

        Nothing useful to add really.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Won't work in England.

          Re: pensioner; England still has milkmen making home delivery?

          1. Vic

            Re: Won't work in England.

            England still has milkmen making home delivery?

            Yes.

            Vic.

      2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Go

        Re: Won't work in England.

        @caffeine addict - I suggest calling these trucks "Wile E. Coyotes"

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Won't work in England.

      Why does the lorry need cameras to read the speed limit signs? Lorries only know two speeds: Stop and 56MPH. I've never seen a lorry do 50MPH in a 50MPH zone in the UK.

      Yes, I've had lorries intimidate me because I dared to do the speed limit. This intimidation including ramming my car. Were the Police interested? Like f**k they were.

      Are there any lorry drivers who know what 50MPH is, as I've yet to meet them on the UK roads.

      </rant>

      1. Martin 47

        Re: Won't work in England.

        Have a down vote for being (possibly) the annoying ejit driving at 43 mph on a clear road this morning oblivious to all the traffic qued behind him.

        Made me glad I was on the bandit :-)

      2. The First Dave

        Re: Won't work in England.

        Hint: Maybe your speedo is telling you a different number to theirs?

        Hint Two: Your speedo is deliberately designed to read HIGHER than you are actually going...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Flame

          Re: Won't work in England.

          So what about tailgating in roadworks when my GPS is saying I'm doing bang on the limit and the speado is saying I'm going over the limit?

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Won't work in England.

          "Hint: Maybe your speedo is telling you a different number to theirs?"

          And? Many of of those driving HGVs appear to be dogf*ckers who need to read the highway code, or go back to carpet rolling and body stuffing school if they don't understand that it isn't the job of the driver in front to drive at a speed that suits the cretin in the truck behind.

          Hint Two: Your speedo is deliberately designed to read HIGHER than you are actually going...

          Some are, some aren't, and truck speedos are generally no more accurate than cars (I used to work for a major truck manufacturer). Either way doesn't alter the problem with some cretins who don't understand that a speed limit is (excepting rare circumstances) a maximum, not a minimum.

      3. Vic

        Re: Won't work in England.

        Lorries only know two speeds: Stop and 56MPH.

        This is not true.

        There is also 56.1mph - which obliges the driver in question to overtake uphill...

        Vic.

    3. Oldfogey

      Re: Won't work in England.

      C'mon - the White Stripes were pretty crisp on their first album

  6. Roger Greenwood

    On a serious note

    It is only a small step for a large operator (e.g. Stobart in UK) to automate the long distance route between large depots - the boring bit - and just have drivers at the endpoints or "loaders" as they will become.

    1. Gannettt

      Re: On a serious note

      The road haulage industry, in common with most large, powerful corporate interests, would love to remove the expensive, inefficient, profit-preventing fleshies from their employ.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: On a serious note

      "It is only a small step for a large operator (e.g. Stobart in UK) to automate the long distance route between large depots - the boring bit - and just have drivers at the endpoints or "loaders" as they will become."

      I think George Stevenson beat you to that idea!

      (and there's already a Stobart Rail and Stobart Air)

  7. lawndart

    says:

    It'll just get stuck behind that JCB on the bypass.

  8. Chris G Silver badge

    I would like to know

    When the Highway pilot is switched on, does a beer bellied, baseball capped inflateable driver pop up?

    With a handy reinflation device for when he has a leak.

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: I would like to know

      Surely you can't be serious?

  9. msknight

    Yeh ... right ...

    When the slow lane becomes a slip road OFF the motorway!

    And I still haven't seen any demonstrations of what happens when some dimwit comes directly in to the "safe space" left between you and the driver in front.

    This is all going to end in tears ... and bent metal.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeh ... right ...

      If you want that demonstration, just rent (or find some other pretext) any high-end Mercedes, Audi or BMW. They all have 'adaptive cruise control' (or whatever that feature's called in the corresponding marketeer's lingo). What happens simply is that the cruise control will readjust the distance to whatever has appeared in its front radar detector, usually without applying the brakes (if the safety system does need to apply the brakes, just hold on to your hat, though...).

      Pretty annoying, though, if the sensor has been turned so it aims to the left (or, on your island, right) lane next to you, so that every passing car triggers your car to decelerate....

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Yeh ... right ...

      So, not much different then it is now? Except maybe the insurance companies will win more premiums. And the driver will be more rested...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So...

    with the computer driving the truck, does the driver still smack the monkey on the head at the end, or is that automated too?

    1. Mike Moyle

      Re: So...

      Actually, he can now spank the monkey at any time on the trip.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Human Error

    "Ninety-percent of commercial truck accidents are due to driver error"

    HAL: Well, I don’t think there is any question about it. It can only be attributable to human error. This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error.

  12. s. pam
    Terminator

    Hasn't anyone ever seen "Duel"

    FFS, that movie still sends shivers up me spine to this very day!

    Add in autonomous operations and you've got a recipe for a Sci-Fi movie from hell a'brewing!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yawn

    Wake me up when when the truck can murder prostitutes and hide the bodies. /clarkson

  14. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Hitcher 3.0

    In Nevada the truck hitches you.

    Thumbs out obviously.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    1 in 8?

    1 in 8 of those driver-fault accidents due to fatigue? I think he means about 4 in 8.

    Here in the U.S, after the Capitalist Republican deregulation ["regulations cost jobs!"] of the trucking industry, I think the only remaining regulation is something like drivers must rest at least 4 hours for every 17,236 hours spent driving.

    The other 4 in 8 is due to them going too fast trying to meet absurd schedules ["L.A. to Chicago in 12 hours, sure!"] because Time Is Money (screw safety)

  16. AOD
    Alert

    What's your 20?

    Let me be the first to welcome our self driving/navigating overlords.

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